HALSTEAD Town drew 1-1 at home to Romford in the Essex Senior League, writes KEN GILLIARD.

Home keeper Jack Cherry was in action before a minute had ticked by as a Romford head got onto the end of a whipped cross, but the home stopper stretched to tip away for a corner.

The opening minutes were a bit frenetic and at the other end, Romford keeper Jack Dixon needed to get his fingertips on the ball to divert out of the path of Kane Gilbert, who would have had an open goal.

Cherry then did exceptionally well to spread himself and block the ball as Toheed Elegushi was bearing down on goal.

It was Romford forcing the pace and Ashaan Siddick had a great chance but blasted over from the edge of the box but the game reached ten minutes without any score.

The pressure from the visitors told a minute later when Siddick and Hassan Nalbant combined with the ball finally falling to the latter to slot home.

Halstead put together a flowing move which ended with Alfie Cleal’s ball into the box being touched away by a home defender as Ade Funbi was just about to tap home.

Joe Vogler, Jake Brown and Joel Older then combined down the left and the latter’s flashing drive went just the wrong side of the upright and the hosts remained one behind.

Older then went close with a free-kick which he whipped in and it narrowly missed the far post, with the keeper stranded.

Halstead Gazette:

A mix-up in the visitors' defence led to Dixon not gathering the ball cleanly and presented Older with an open goal.

However the keeper redeemed himself by recovering quickly and blocking the goal attempt.

Romford went in at the break ahead but Halstead pressed first after the break and a Cleal volley from outside the box was deflected for a corner.

Funbi then did well to keep the ball in and played in Brown who got the wrong side of the defender but Dixon was off his line smartly to block the ball away for a corner.

Romford then went close as the game neared the hour mark when a fine cross from Henry Hart missed everyone including George Cox arriving at the far post.

Only a touch would have been needed and the ball ended the wrong side of the post.

On 68 minutes Halstead finally got the ball in the net but the home crowd's jubilation was ended quickly when the referee blew for a foul, after the ball was headed out of the keeper’s hands.

Within minutes, Older had a good chance at the back post but he couldn’t sort his feet out and the ball went for a corner and the game went into the final 20 minutes with the hosts still ahead.

Halstead had a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box and Gilbert’s effort curled just the wrong side of the upright and the visitors remained a goal to the good.

Darren Phillips then headed away from under the bar to preserve Romford's lead as Halstead applied pressure.

The final ten minutes started with Halstead on the attack and again Phillips had to head clear off his own line and then Funbi shot wide after a corner.

Halstead's persistence finally paid off in the 89th minute when they broke in numbers and the ball finally ended up at the feet of Older and he deftly chipped the keeper, to get the Humbugs a deserved equaliser.

Romford were then reduced to ten men as substitute Jacob Wiggins received his second yellow but it was the visitors who almost snatched a late winner, with Cherry off his line well to block to safety, as the spoils were shared.